Article by: Bylle Breaux
Twenty something singer/songwriter, Nick Nash, tip-toes surreptitiously onto the Americana scene like a “Wolf in the Wheat,” which is also the title of one of his songs on his new E.P., “Fear of Perdition.” Now living in Nashville and more than halfway through a law degree from Vanderbilt, Nash has somehow managed to birth unfaltering, introspective music perfect for a road trip. His resonance leans towards a sweet blend of Ryan Adams and Gregory Alan Isakov, with a songwriting urbanity of Jason Isbell. In fact, Pete Lyman, whom also mastered this project, mastered Isbell’s last two albums. However, Nash’s signature lies in the way he brings an ineluctable and notable point of view to the permeated Americana genre.
Nash is from Utah with a family lineage that dates back to the foundation of the LDS church. He didn’t participate in the faith until his later teenage years, but also spent a lot of that time traveling abroad and ranging over other spiritual practices. As a young missionary, he spent time in some southern U.S. states where he had his first real exposure to the clash between Christian denominations. As a Mormon, “we often got treated poorly…I know it goes both ways and Mormons mistreat people at times too. I just want to make sure it isn’t me mistreating anyone.” The theme of this unity and brotherly love lies restlessly under Nash’s euphony, as elegiac lyrics amalgamate with polished, alluring arrangements.
His E.P. opens with “Wolf in the Wheat,” and at first listen, it sounds like a throwback to Simon and Garfunkel with the ethereal harmony, but as it unfolds, there is a something more audacious, from and for a new time. Lyrics like “Am I keeping my brother or am I letting him down,” backs up Nash’s mission, and drops ideally in line with current events. Only pensive songwriting can be so timeless, lining him up with aforementioned peers. Pedal Steel and violin infused build-ups by Dylan Schroer and Julian Moss bring fulfillment and texture like icing on the cake, but the cake still holds up if Nash has to perform this solo with just a guitar.
“If I get Lost” is both haunting and hopeful, the way great love is supposed to be. There is purity to the song that is void of a masculine or feminine voice, almost lifted above it, as if the songwriter has subtly evolved past a sexual identity and is inviting listeners into an uncharted space.
“Fear of Perdition” will be one of those songs fans will always come back to. “Fallin’ from grace can be slow but it ain’t soft, the fear of perdition is what’s keeping me hangin’ on,” is a line from the song and seems to be turning the idea of perdition on its head. Nash is someone who knows he will make a lot more mistakes and knows he will spend his life resisting the devil, but instead of grumbling, protesting and rejecting the idea, he accepts it. It is surprising how few Americana artists allow they to wrestle this stuff out in their songs, especially since it is so engrained in the fabric of our country. The album is far from being a religious album and isn’t about God, but the inclusion of Nash’s personal Theology is refreshing and interesting, probably because it is so honest and vulnerable. It just can’t be written if it isn’t experienced and wrestled with.
Nash will be touring some southeastern states in February and March. He is headed out West for a longer stretch through California in July and August. Keep him on your radar for venues in your area and check out “Fear of Perdition” in the meantime.